The creations of fashion designer Gianfranco Ferre have often been described as very
harmonious, geometrical, and refined with some very free-flowing silhouettes, volume and fullness. Classic
yet modern he has also been compared to the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
In 1967, Gianfranco Ferre recieved his qualifications as an architect in Milan, and supported himself by making
belts whilst at college. After obtaining his degree, his first job was with the design studio of a
furniture company. He made some jewellery for a girl friend which was noticed by the owners of a boutique in
Portofino, and he suddenly then found himself designing jewellery for Walter Albini, who was a successful designer
of garments made of silk and luxurious fabrics. Ferre also started working as a freelance designer, completing
commissions for Lagerfeld as well as Fiorucci.
Gianfranco Ferre spent the beginning of the 1970's in India, where he had been sent to study art. The colours and
craftsmanship made a great impression on him whilst he was there. He also spent a lot of time traveling
in India designing and advising the new fashion industry. The dazzling country with all its crafts, traditions and
colour schemes was a true revelation to him as a designer.
In 1973, on his return to Italy, Ferre met Franco Mattioli, owner of a clothing house. Gianfranco Ferre
agreed to do the design work for Mattioli and in 1974, he brought out the first womens ready-to-wear
collection for Mattioli's Baila label. In 1978, after 4 years designing for Mattoli, Ferre decided that it was time
for him to introduce his own label of fashion. He gave a 50% partnership to Franco Mattoli, which is still there.
In 1978, he presented womens ready-to-wear, his Oaks line, and a line of garments, which reflected the free spirit
of Sportswear. In 1982, he presented his first Menswear collection.
In 1983, Ferre became a professor of Fashion at the Domus Academy in Milan, Italy. In 1984, He was named Designer
of the Year. The international trade Press then desided to award him the Womens Ready-to-wear award five times over
the following years.
In 1986 Ferre introduced his first Couture collection. In this year, the President of Italy awarded him
with the title of the Commander of the Italian Republic. In the same year, he launched Studio OOl, a new
line and also his fur Collection Fourrures.
In 1989 Gianfranco Ferre was appointed the Chief Designer for the well-established house of DIOR in order to
replace Marc Bohan. He managed to capture the traditional Dior spirit and interpret it in a modern fresh manner,
whilst retaining the elegance and attention to details that define haute couture. He continued creating clothes on
his own label during this time.
In 1996 Ferre left Dior after 7 productive years. In this year He introduced his own Jeans line.
He continues to produce his couture collections, fur collections, ready-to-wear for men and women, the Oaks and
Jeans collections, Studio collection for Marzotto Europe's biggest textile giant, 11 over lines and 15 licences.
Bergdorf Goodman in New York alone sells more than $1 million per year of Gianfranco
The Style of Gianfranco Ferre
Gianfranco Ferre pictures the women who wear his clothes as "always in movement, dark-haired, scintillating and
brilliant." He likes his women to always be dressed in feminine curved lines, asymmetric or subtly restrained
His garments are usually graphically created in strong shapes and very bright colours. Highly sensitive to form and
outline, Ferre shows collections that usually bear the hallmarks of one whose early training was in the careful
study of detail, in analysis and in accurate planning. His intellectual approach to design, produces powerfully
elegant and controlled clothes which are often folded and layered in order to create his precise
Gianfranco Ferre has become well known for his expert use of stark colours, especially red, black, white
and gold, and his extravagant use of luxurious fabrics such as fur, leather and taffeta. He is however still able
to insert a spark into his garments, like this dress made of cane in a basket weave, for his Spring 2000
One of the garments with which he is always connected, is the luxurious white blouse. He is renowned for the way he
sculpts white cotton, silk, or his favourite organza into so many beautiful and refined shapes. He has taken the
white shirt and turned it into something new, elevating it far above the usual
everyday humble shirt. He uses beaded cuffs, lace ruffles, and collars that soar or that cut loose with
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